Nothing beats a thoughtful Christmas gift handmade with care. Problem is, creating your own pressie is fraught with complications.
One tiny slip and the whole thing is kaput.
Thankfully, a plant shop in the heart of Manchester is ensuring our DIY gifts go to plan in 2020 – running a series of expert workshops in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Glass House is helping the people of Manchester create some quirky and cool plant-themed festive presents that’ll stand out amongst the toiletry sets and pairs of socks under the tree.
The workshops range from creating your own terrarium to building your own dried floral wreaths – offering the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill this winter and come out with a high-quality gift for a loved one (although we won’t judge you if you’d prefer to keep it for yourself – they’re simply too cute!)
If handmade isn’t your cup of tea, Glass House is also selling dozens of readily prepared plants that are guaranteed to go down a storm come Christmas time.
Make sure you get in touch on Glass House’s Instagram to book your place in one of these workshops, as they’re bound to fill up quickly!
The plants are available to purchase from their Princess Street store, as well as online via their website.
ANOTHER bargain variety store has opened in Manchester – and some of the items in Miniso are adorable
There’s another newcomer to the high street in Manchester, and this one’s got some seriously cute items at low prices.
Miniso has taken over a 2,903 sq ft unit in the Manchester Arndale, joining the hugely popular Flying Tiger as new shops spring up across the shopping centre.
The Chinese brand specialises in family lifestyle and design-led products, selling everything from handbags to homeware to cuddly toys.
Its range also includes toys and gadgets, stationery, homeware, fitness and beauty, with a philosophy of ‘simplicity, nature and good quality’.
Miniso is another place shoppers can stock up on all your Christmas stocking fillers without having to cripple yourself financially, with adorable gifts priced from £1.
For just a quid, you can get superhero phone cases, greetings cards, and colouring sets – and even the most expensive products in store won’t cost you much more than £30.
Miniso sells gadgets like Bluetooth headphones, wireless speakers and electronic cleansing face brushes for way less than most other places.
There is an ENTIRE WALL of plushies – soft pale piglets, squishy Minions, cute plush penguins and even cuddly fried chicken.
You can also grab a ‘mystery box’ between £2.50 and £4.
In the accessories section, there are handbags scattered with pink love hearts, purses with whiskers and noses, as well as more simple backpacks and totes.
Water bottles, travel coffee mugs, makeup brushes and tools, yoga mats, gaming gadgets like keyboards and headphones (with cat ears on, naturally) – Miniso’s got it all.
Popular Japaneses snacks like Hello Panda (a biscuit with different flavoured fillings) and Yan Yan (biscuit sticks with different flavour dips) are all sold here too.
Saad Usman, COO at MINISO UK, said: “We’re delighted to announce the launch of our store at Manchester Arndale. We believe that the opening of this store, our first in the North West, is the perfect place for us to continue our expansion in the UK.
“At MINISO UK, we’re committed to getting the retail industry back on its feet, demonstrated not only by the investment into our fantastic new store, but also the creation of 10-15 new jobs in the local market.
“With innovative and exciting products that are high-quality and great value, we look forward to welcoming customers of all ages through our doors on opening day and beyond.”
Bubble CiTea is also opening in the Arndale, selling traditional Taiwanese bubble tea with flavours including Mango Fruit Tea with Rainbow Bubbles and Taro Milk Tea with Crystal Bubbles.
Colin Flinn, spokesperson for Manchester Arndale, said: “We are delighted that Bubble CiTea and MINISO have selected Manchester Arndale as their first locations in the city, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them alongside other recent arrivals such as Gilly Hicks, Clarks, and Jamaica Blue.
“It’s great to see the centre continually attracting both fantastic home-grown brands like Bubble CiTea and big-name international retailers such as MINISO.
“With such exciting leasing activity taking place it is clear retailers have confidence in the long-term future of the centre and its position as a leading retail destination.
“With Manchester Arndale now almost fully let, it will continue to attract millions of visitors from across the North West and beyond, with its dynamic and constantly improving line up of exciting retail, F&B and leisure offers.”
Sostrene Grene, the gorgeous Manchester shop with affordable prices dubbed ‘little Ikea’
You don’t need us to tell you that everything is costing a fortune these days and finances are looking generally grim for most of us.
But that feels particularly upsetting with Christmas now on most people’s minds – no one wants to be cutting corners when it comes to spoiling our loved ones and celebrating together.
So we’ve found the solution to all your festive budgeting woes, in the form of a tiny maze of a shop in Manchester city centre.
Sostrene Grene, a Danish retailer based in The Royal Exchange, is an absolute haven for tasteful gifts and trinkets, as well as homewares, craft supplies and those all-unimportant-but-absolutely-magical Christmas decorations.
The brand is often labelled a ‘mini Ikea’, thanks to two things – one that it sells just about everything you can think of for your home, the other that shoppers are taken on a one-way maze through the departments.
It’s a place to buy all the annoying things you can never think where to go for – like napkin rings, nail clippers, kids’ craft kits, and egg cups – which also makes it a great place for gift inspiration.
At this time of year, you enter into a little Scandinavian Christmas wonderland, with a forest of decorative pine trees made from wood, ceramics and even paper, as well as dangling paper snowflakes.
There’s a whole wall of reasonably-priced wrapping paper and gift bags (£1.54 for wrapping paper is a darn sight cheaper than some of the big brands nearby).
Further into Sostrene Grene you’ll find even more Christmas wonder, like an eclectic range of baubles, so you could have a sparkling panda peering through the branches of your pine tree or a glittery croissant dangling amidst your fairy lights.
There’s even a festive section in the craft area, where you can pick up the bits to make your own wreath or build your own Scandinavian nativity scene, down to mini felt deer, tiny post-boxes and even miniature fairy lights.
Elsewhere, craft fans can browse a massive range of yarn and string, canvases and paint brushes, jewellery-making kits and more.
Things that are normally incomprehensibly expensive, like picture frames and mirrors, are far more affordable here than you might expect (around £25 for a huge mirror that looks straight off a Pinterest board).
The same goes for things like candles and decorative jars – there are rows and rows of candlesticks and pillar candles in a rainbow of colours for just 40p each.
You can buy things like a back-scratcher here, or a ceramic loo brush that’s so beautifully made you’d be tempted to display it on a shelf (if that wasn’t gross).
The surprising bargains continue in the kitchen section too, with things like glass and wooden jars in various sizes for around the £4 mark – we can never understand why other shops charge so much for these things.
There are pizza cutters and place settings, colanders and cutting boards, baking trays and beautiful ceramic bowls.
You can even buy retro sweets while you’re queueing up for the tills – we’re talking the sort of hard-boiled fruity sweet that your parents would also chuck at your intermittently to keep you quiet on long car journeys.
Sostrene Grene looks better than ever now that Christmas is nearing, each window transformed into a welcoming scene.
Would the staff judge you for pulling up a chair at the dining table covered in dishes and novelty festive glasses? We might go and find out.